Jun. 16th, 2017

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Things have been so good. The holiday was delicious, with chateaux and history and May roses everywhere...Then I came back for operation number 1, then I had that weird heartc lutchy thing again, more blood tests, more ECGS. And the summer is beautiful anyway.

My cleaner turned up on my doorstep and collapsed in tears. The tears grew more intense; She knew someone who died in the Grenfell tower fire, along with her 3 year old boy. She and others were going to go there and leave flowers and messages, when a friend told her that it was like the war in Sierra Leone as they remembered it. He described the smell, burning matter, some of it human. The fear of that smell stopped her from going with her friends.

She cried for hours. She told me about the war in Sierra Leone , the multiple rapes, the 'short sleeved or long sleeved' mutilations, her home burnt to the ground, and the tower brought all back to her.

'So far away,' she said, 'I thought it was so far away...'

She cried more, speaking of the fire, burning, dying, the feeling of fear, and it came back to life in her face. 'I remember the rebels sneaking past our village going to the British. They would sell them diamonds in return for cocaine and ammunition.'She stared at me. 'To kill us. Kill us. And then the British would try to 'liberate' us from them!' She laughed, a terrible sound, 'But we are not stupid, we know you. We know you.' Her eyes didn't see me. Then she came back, and wept over the tower again, again, again.

Sometimes she seemed strangely matter of fact. 'War comes. We know that in war, all is madness. We know what to expect from war. A bomb doesn't know where it is going to drop. And we left all that to begin our lives here again. And we are not safe.' Her tears flowed as she showed me pictures of the lost little boy and his mother.

'We are not safe. Here, in this rich country, the poor are not safe. This is not a war! Why were people not protected in their homes? Why? For money?'

I listened and comforted as best I could. She stayed for around 4 hours then went to collect her daughter. I watched footage of Theresa May walking quickly away from crowds calling her a coward.

God, I wish I was back in France.

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